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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Wedgwood   [3 January 1839]



My dear Charles

I was surprized indeed to find how soon you had moved into your new house & I don’t wonder you feel triumphant, I really begin to feel quite sorry for Mrs Irvine & think we have cheated the poor woman. You must have found it very interesting putting all your things away & arranging your sanctum to the greatest advantage, & I should have liked very much to have helped you & also to eat your eggs & bacon afterwards. Fanny tells me to write to her about cooks, but I really do not know what to say or how we are ever to settle between the two she has seen they seem so much alike so you & she must lay your heads together & settle what you like. I should think 14 guineas & tea & sugar plenty. I will send off the linen by the canal the end of this week.

You seem to have received the letter I wrote on Sunday on Monday which puzzled as I thought they did not leave Newcastle the same day that they were written, so please to tell me when you receive this. The poor Seabridge folks1 are undergoing a visit from the Roberts.2 They came on Monday & instead of going away on Saturday as any reasonable people would Robert is going by himself to do duty on Sunday at his living & will leave his wife on their hands for three days. There is a wonderful degree of obtuseness about him. Allen3 seems to think that her temper is not very smooth at present & that she watches him as much as ever. She never leaves him alone with his sisters a minute. Eliza4 is very unwell too which makes it more foolish of Robert staying so long. Elizabeth has a bad cough which I am sorry for as she is always a long time getting rid of it & she has a new school mistress whom she wants to be looking after. I find it so curiously tiresome teaching the school now—5 I suppose it is feeling as if it was no use now it is only for a few weeks. Now we are really in January I begin to feel as if something real was going to happen & it makes me dream & ponder a great deal. I hope you will manage to finish Glen Roy now & get shut of it. I enclose two specimens of Caligraphy which have puzzled me & I believe you will be obliged to call in Covington to your assistance.6 I can fancy how proud you are in your big house, ordering breakfast in the front drawing room dinner in the dining room tea in the back drawing room & luncheon in the study, & occasionally looking through your window on your estate & plantations.

Tell me how your Carlyle dinner went off. We have been living as quiet as mice here since Monday, reading aloud & playing Cassino in the evening, very comfortable I think. Jos came on Saturday & Sunday. We could not fathom what he thought of his daughter or whether he admired her. He says she is still weakly.

Goodbye dearest Charley your affectionate Emma W.

I am reading Mansfield Park which I find very suitable. Did you ever see such lovely weather. Write soon like a good boy for your letters are not thrown away upon me.

Thank Fanny very much for her kind trouble.

I began my direction to old 36.7


Harry and Jessie Wedgwood who lived in Seabridge.
Robert and Frances Crewe Wedgwood, Jessie’s brother and sister-in-law.
John Allen Wedgwood, Jessie’s brother.
Sarah Elizabeth (Eliza) Wedgwood, Jessie’s sister.
Emma taught a class on Sundays for the children of Maer. A reading book, containing four stories she wrote and had printed for use in the school, is preserved in DAR 219. See also Emma Darwin (1915) 1: 141–2.
The excisions made from CD’s letter to Emma Wedgwood, [31 December 1838 –] 1 January 1839. Covington often acted as CD’s copyist.
The street address on the cover has the ‘1’ of 12 Upper Gower Street written over the beginning of a ‘3’ (of 36 Great Marlborough Street).


Emma Darwin (1915): Emma Darwin: a century of family letters, 1792–1896. Edited by Henrietta Litchfield. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1915.


Emma is surprised how quickly CD has moved into the new house and understands his feeling of triumph. Wants him and Fanny [Mrs Hensleigh] Wedgwood to settle on hiring a cook.

Is reading Mansfield Park [Jane Austen (1814)], which she finds "very suitable".

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 158
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 482,” accessed on 31 January 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2